Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe breaks ground

The resort casino will be located in Taunton, Massachusetts.

The Cape Cod-based tribe has officially started the construction of its new Las Vegas-style gambling project: the First Light casino.

US.- The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe officially broke ground yesterday (Tuesday) on a casino project in Taunton.

With an estimated US$1 billion price tag, First Light represents the most expensive project yet in the region between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. The resort is expected to open in phases starting in 2017. MGM and Wynn are also building casinos in the state, but, they will be opening by 2018 at the earliest.

Richard McGowan, a business professor and gambling expert at Boston College, isn’t convinced the casino is going to be profitable. “Once the Wynn casino is built near Boston, then the Boston casinogoers will no longer have to travel,” he said. “That is the casino which will reap the profits of Massachusetts casino gambling.”

The First Light casino, hotel and entertainment complex is being built on a 151-acre industrial park. The site has been recently designated as part of the Cape Cod-based tribe’s federal reservation, although not without opposition. Residents have challenged the federal government’s decision to grant the tribe land in trust.  By extension, this challenges the tribe’s right to open the casino, which is being backed by the Malaysia-based Genting Group.